Governor Scott Walker (R-WI) is proposing a budget that would fund a variety of right-wing priorities by slashing support for public services and local communities, according to an outline of the plan given in Walker’s “State of the State” address Wednesday night. Walker, who had already cut taxes significantly in his first term, proposed an additional $630 million in cuts (about half of which come from income taxes):
With this in mind, I am pleased to announce an income tax cut of $343 million. You, the hardworking taxpayers of this state helped to create the budget surplus, so it is only right that we put more money back into your hands. Over the next decade, this will lower income taxes $1.7 billion…Overall, our budget includes more than $630 million in tax cuts.
Walker touted the tax cuts as a way to boost Wisconsin’s economy, but they give relatively little money back to middle-class families, limiting their stimulative effect. A four-person family with a total yearly income of $80,000 would only see an extra $8 per month under Walker’s plans. But even tax cuts with limited effects cost the government money — $1.7 billion over the next decade, according to Walker. And while he says it will be paid for a projected surplus, that’s the same thing former President George W. Bush said about his budget busting tax cuts.
Moreover, Walker’s budget proposes several dangerous changes and cuts to critical public services that could hurt the economy. Despite the fact that “a decade of research has shown no academic benefit from sending students to voucher schools,” Walker proposes a significant expansion of voucher funding, which will come at the expense of public schools. He also plans to freeze state financial support for municipal and city level programs. A similar move in Ohio caused problems for localities when it came to funding fire and police departments.
Walker also doubled down on his refusal to accept Obamacare Medicaid support, a move too irresponsible even for Florida’s hard-right Governor Rick Scott. Walker’s proposed budget also contains provisions requiring “non-elderly, able-bodied adults” on food stamps to attend job training programs in order to get food support.